Extra 3 – Kilmelford to Oban

Hasteful MammalON THE sixth and final walking day of my July 2017 trip I knew I was in trouble the moment I got out of bed. My knee was stiff and slightly inflamed and the previous day’s 20-miler had done it no favours at all.  My plans for the day involved another 20 miles but that was now looking rather foolish. Perhaps I should abandon my walk altogether?  I mean, I could hardly do that using only one leg…

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CLXII – Dunoon to Tighnabruaich

Hasteful MammalTHE early part of April 2017 was gloriously bestowed with blue skies and sunshine but, for one reason and another, I wasn’t able to head back up to Scotland until the latter half of the month.  The weather afforded me just one further day of unusually summery spring, that day being the one I used to travel up. The following morning, as I threw back my hotel room curtains, a world of greyness stared back.

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CLIII – Kilwinning to Largs

Hasteful MammalMORNING in Kilwinning was heralded by the light pitter-patter of drizzle upon the window, which did little to compel me to leave my nice warm bed.  Summoning every ounce of available willpower, I forced myself up and into the bathroom where the cold, tiled floor leached out my body heat in seconds.  This was clearly a situation in need of a remedy and that remedy came in the form of as much cooked breakfast as I could physically shove into my face.  Right, now I was set for a full day’s walking; drizzle be damned!

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CXXXI – Ravenglass to St Bees

Hasteful MammalALTHOUGH there is a certain purist joy in staying overnight at the start and end point of each walk, so that all the travelling that you are doing between places is on foot, there is a whole different kind of joy in starting the day already ensconced in a hotel at your end point.  This kind of joy entails the ability to dump all your heavier things in your hotel room, safe in the knowledge that you’ll walk back to them later. It is a ‘travelling light’ kind of joy.

This was, of course, what I was doing when I caught a train from St Bees to Ravenglass in order to spend the day walking back to St Bees (the railway version of the journey was around sixteen times faster). 

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CXXVII – Ulverston to Barrow-in-Furness

Hasteful MammalI RETURNED to Cumbria at the start of May to resume my pedestrian adventure.  I hadn’t really planned to, indeed I had other plans for the long bank holiday weekend, but I decided at the last minute that maybe, just maybe, I could fit in a single day’s walking.  And so, I set off, without even checking the weather forecast.

I arrived in Cumbria amid a driving downpour, which mercifully soon lessened to alternate between drizzle and moderate rain.  Still, it felt right, if by “right” I meant “damp” — this was traditional Cumbrian weather in all its watery glory.  I would continue to be inundated with tradition for the rest of the day but, fortunately, I had recently invested in some properly waterproof clothing, which I trusted would keep me warm and dry. 

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CXXIV – Lancaster to Carnforth

Hasteful MammalTHE morning after my arrival in Lancaster, I emerged from my hotel full of enthusiasm, energy and significant quantities of breakfast.  A blue sky was bedecked with fluffy white clouds and the clouds were also full of enthusiasm and energy — but probably not breakfast — judging by the speed at which they were bombing across the heavens.

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CXV – Flint to Chester

Hasteful MammalMY MOST recent walk was neither particularly long nor particularly coastal, involving as it did an amble alongside the River Dee as far as Chester, which is not on the coast.  But what Chester lacks in coast it makes up for in being absolutely lovely and that was justification enough.

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CVIII – Cemaes to Amlwch

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE bright and early in my hotel in Cemaes to find that the promised ‘glorious sunshine’ was indeed glorious. Later, when I was on the cliff tops, I would find that it was accompanied by a howling gale of a wind, but one that was suitably sun-warmed so that it felt as though walking under the blast of an enormous hairdryer.  This is not the weather usually associated with North Wales (I’d had some of that the day before).

This was to be a short walk, just far enough to get me to Amlwch, from which I could catch a bus that would begin my journey home.

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CVII – Holyhead to Cemaes

Hasteful MammalWHILE I may have avoided walking in August, on account of hot weather and everywhere being booked solid, September is an entirely different prospect.  And this is good because if August is optional then the start of September is almost compulsory for walking: I started my coastal perambulations on the third of September 2010, which means that as September rolled around again I was into my fifth year of walking.

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XCVI – Harlech to Portmeirion

Hasteful MammalON GOOD Friday, I returned to Harlech at an hour well before any shops would have opened even if it hadn’t been a bank holiday. To achieve this I had cunningly left London the night before and stayed overnight in Aberdovey.

Sadly, my cunning hadn’t extended as far as remembering either a bottle of water or my phone charger and my phone decided to register its discontent by rapidly dropping down to one bar of power.  This was annoying, not least because I would be ending the day’s walk in Portmeirion, a place I wanted to take photos of. 

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